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The Fermi Paradox Revisited

18 Sep 2013, 12:59 UTC
The Fermi Paradox Revisited
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

If we haven’t heard from extraterrestrials, maybe it’s because we’re not using the right technology—yet.

Fermi at the blackboard. More than 60 years after he posed his famous question, “they” still haven’t shown up.
The Fermi Paradox is one of the major unanswered questions in astrobiology. It started with physicist Enrico Fermi, who in 1950 asked his co-workers over lunch: “Where are they?” What he meant was intelligent extraterrestrials. If there are billions and billions of stars and probably even more planets, why have we not already been in contact with extraterrestrial (ET) civilizations?
This is even more puzzling since our Sun and Earth are relatively young, meaning that life could have originated on other worlds long before it did here, and intelligent beings on those planets could easily be millions of years ahead of us.
There are two principle answers to the paradox: The alien civilizations are (1) present but for some reason we can’t detect them, or (2) they simply are not there, or at least not in our vicinity. In regard to the first option, Star Trek’s prime directive comes to mind, or perhaps a scientific variation of the Zoo hypothesis (aliens don’t interfere with us because ...

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